How to Replace a Timing Belt on a Toyota Corolla

Replacing the timing belt on a 1993 through 1997 Toyota Corolla requires several special tools, all of which are available at any Toyota dealer. The engine is a 1.6L 4-cylinder engine. It is a freewheeling engine, which means that should the belt stretch past its useful life, engine damage most likely will not occur. Toyota does not provide a recommended interval for changing the timing belt, but previous service use and history suggests that the timing belt should be changed every 60,000 miles.

Step 1 - Disconnect the battery ground cable and lay it aside, ensuring that it does not touch metal. Jack up the front of the Corolla using the floor jack, and support it with jack stands. Remove the right wheel using the lug wrench. Remove the right splashguard using the appropriate sockets.

Step 2 - Remove the windshield washer reservoir using the appropriate socket. Unbolt the cruise control actuator and remove it using the appropriate sockets. Loosen the accessory drive belt tensioners to release tension on the belts. Lift the belts off the pulleys.

Step 3 - Support the engine with the floor jack by jacking it up just enough to touch the bottom of the oil pan. Remove the right engine mount using the appropriate brackets. Unbolt the air conditioning compressor, but do not remove the air conditioning lines. Move the compressor out of the way. Remove the water pump pulley, valve cover, upper timing belt cover and the middle timing belt cover using the appropriate sockets.

Step 4 - Turn the crankshaft clockwise until the timing mark on the crankshaft pulley lines up with the dot on the block at the 1 o’clock position. Check the timing mark on the camshaft. The small hole in the sprocket should line up with the dot on the head at the 12 o’clock position. If it is not lined up, turn the crankshaft one more turn, and both marks will line up.

Step 5 - Remove the crankshaft pulley bolt using the holding tool and handle. Pull the pulley off using the puller. Remove the lower timing belt cover and belt guide using the appropriate sockets. Check that both timing marks are still lined up.

Step 6 - Loosen the tensioner bolt and push the tensioner away from the belt. Tighten the bolt just enough to hold the tensioner out of the way. Lift the timing belt off the sprockets and pulleys.

Step 7 - Remove the tensioner pulley. Spin the pulley in your hand. If you hear it squeaking or grinding, replace it. If it has any resistance, replace it. Remove the tensioner spring and measure it. If the spring is not 1.40 inches from end to end on the 4A-FE engine (code is on the sticker on the hood) or 1.25 inches on the 7A-FE engine, replace the tensioner spring. Install the tensioner pulley and spring. Check that the timing marks are still lined up.

Step 8 - Look at the timing mark on the crankshaft. If your engine has a dot on the block that lines up with a notch in the pulley, install the timing belt in a counterclockwise direction, starting on the crankshaft, working up to the camshaft sprocket and keeping tension on the belt between the two. Bring the belt down behind the tensioner.

If your engine has a gauge on the block and a notch in the pulley, put the timing belt around the bottom of the crankshaft sprocket. Install the belt guide, the timing belt lower cover, the crankshaft pulley and the bolt. Tighten the pulley bolt lightly. Make sure the crankshaft timing marks are lined up. Working counterclockwise, bring the belt up to the camshaft, keeping tension on the belt between the two sprockets. Remove the plug from the lower timing belt cover.

Step 9 - Loosen the tensioner bolt. Turn the crankshaft clockwise two turns until both timing marks line up. Tighten the tensioner bolt to 27 foot-pounds of torque. Apply a force of 4.4 lbs. to the belt, halfway between the camshaft sprocket and the crankshaft sprocket. If the deflection is not between 0.20 inches and 0.24 inches, repeat the tensioning process (Step 9).

Step 10 - Remove the crankshaft pulley bolt (if it was reinstalled). Install the rest of the parts in reverse order of removal. Tighten the crankshaft pulley bolt to 87 foot-pounds of torque.

THINGS YOU'LL NEED: Set of wrenches, Floor jack, Jack stands, Lug wrench, Puller No. 09213-31021, Crankshaft pulley holding tool handle No. 09330-00021, Crankshaft pulley holding tool No. 09213-14010 (for Corolla 1993 and 1994), Crankshaft pulley holding tool No. 09213-70010 (for Corolla 1995 through 1997), Torque wrench

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